ICBA campaign opposing new bank IRS reporting generates passionate consumer response

Sep. 14, 2021

By Rebeca Romero Rainey

ICBA has for months strongly objected to a Washington proposal that would require financial institutions to report information on customer bank accounts to the IRS, which Congress could soon pass with a simple majority vote.

But within the past week, our campaign has accelerated as community bankers have leveraged ICBA resources to urge their customers and local consumers  to speak out against the measure.

Campaign Response

Nearly 60,000 consumers have sent nearly 180,000 messages to their members of Congress expressing opposition to the IRS plan. Notably, some community banks using ICBA’s customizable email and social media content have gone viral, with social media posts garnering millions of impressions and reactions from consumers across the country.

With banks reporting that some customers have sought to withdraw their deposits to avoid IRS monitoring, this is a good time to remind them the proposal is not final—but the need for action is urgent. Urge them to reach out to Congress instead of stashing their cash under a mattress.

Consumer Polling

This widespread consumer interest and opposition to the IRS proposal is evidenced by recent ICBA polling conducted by Morning Consult.

Among its results, the poll found:

  • 67% of voters oppose the IRS proposal, with 53% strongly opposed and just 22% supportive.
  • Opposition is bipartisan, with 51% of Democrats, 74% of Independents, and 79% of Republicans opposed.
  • 64% of voters do not trust the IRS to monitor their account information, while 54% do not trust it to keep their financial data secure.

Top Concerns

The consumer reaction brings to life the results of our poll, which found that consumers are particularly concerned that the proposal is an invasion of their privacy and potentially harmful to small businesses.

Consumers looking to withdraw their deposits also reflect another key concern—that the plan will drive Americans away from the banking system, reversing ongoing efforts to reach the unbanked.

Next Steps

With congressional committees already working to advance a major spending package that includes the IRS proposal, community bankers should continue using ICBA’s custom resources to spread the word and encourage consumers to speak out to Congress.

I also encourage community bankers already leveraging these resources to reach out to community banking peers and encourage them to do the same. Time is of the essence.

By weighing in directly with lawmakers, community banks, customers, and consumers nationwide can ensure their voices are heard and a dangerous proposal is defeated.

Rebeca Romero Rainey is ICBA president and CEO.